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Posted by: Doug Henwood | October 28, 2011

Civil disobedience against NYPD’s stop & frisk

It looks like OWS is giving the movement against the NYPD’s stop & frisk policies—under which literally hundreds of thousands of young males are patted down by cops—a shot in the arm. This press release just in:

For Immediate Release

Activists to shut down 73rd Precinct in Brownsville

Stop ‘Stop and Frisk’ Comes to Brooklyn

New York, NY, Oct. 28, 2011 – Nonviolent civil disobedience is on the agenda as local activists, community members and religious leaders gear up to challenge the NYPD’s controversial ‘stop and frisk’ practices at the 73rd Police Precinct in Brownsville, Brooklyn.   The 73rd Precinct has the highest rate of stops-and-frisks in New York City.

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, on Nov. 1 at 4 PM, will stage the second of a series of similar events in neighborhoods around New York City targeting to stop the repressive NYPD practice of Stop and Frisk – a policy the Center for Constitutional Rights, the New York Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups have challenged as illegal. On Friday, October 21, a group of more than 200 demonstrators marched on the 28th Precinct in Harlem where 34 community members, activists, and allies from Occupy Wall Street, were arrested for blocking the entrance to the police station. Among those arrested were Dr. Cornel West, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait, Rev. Stephen Phelps of Riverside Church, and comedian/activist Randy Credico.

During 2010 NYPD recorded more than 600,000 warrant-less stops — the vast majority Back and Latino youths — and are on pace to top 700,000 in 2011. This is up from 86,000 just ten years ago. The stop and frisk exchange, the humiliating is first step into the pipeline of mass incarceration and criminalization of minority young people.  It is often a young man’s first introduction to the police in his neighborhood. It leaves an indelible stain on a young man’s self-awareness, and antagonizes and terrorizes community members.  A handful of police officers have stepped forward to oppose the policy — documented by the Village Voice, and by WABC-TV News — which has been loudly supported by Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Recent news reports of police involvement in gun smuggling, traffic ticket fixing, and the routine planting of illegal drugs on innocent persons have further added spotlight to illegal activities associated with the NYPD.

According to Dix, “mass resistance” is needed because the NYPD is “harassing and humiliating a lot of innocent people. And then we’ve also seen cases where these stops escalate to beat downs, arrests, and even people being killed….it is a burning injustice and we want to tap into what we feel is a supportive mood around resisting it, and to link in with people who are trying to deal with it on other levels, whether that’s through the courts, political, the electoral arena.”

On August 3, 2011 a Federal Judge rejected an effort by the City of New York to thwart a lawsuit filed by The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) that challenges the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy and practices. In a statement issued earlier this year CCR said that “for many children being stopped by the police on their way home from school has become a normal after school activity and that is a tragedy.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and State Senator Eric Adams called for a federal probe of the policy, saying that it is “emblematic of a police culture that disregarded the civil rights of young black and Hispanic men.”

Media outlets such as the New York Times, NY1, New York Daily News, Salon, Democracy Now and the Guardian have covered the campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk” here in New York.

Carl Dix, Rev. Phelps and other Oct. 21st arrestees are available for interviews.

-30-

Media Liaison Team
“Stop Mass Incarceration: We’re Better Than That!” Network

c/o P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station
New York City, New York 10002-0900

The “Stop Mass Incarceration: We’re Better Than That!” Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.  Tax-deductible contributions accepted, and checks should be made payable to the “Alliance for Global Justice, with “Mass Incarceration Network” in the memo line.  Other forms of contributions also accepted.

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Responses

  1. OWS has initiated a new working class party.


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